July 6, 2023

Express Entry: Healthcare Occupations in Category-Based Draws

In a bid to streamline immigration and meet the growing labor market needs, Canada's Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced the introduction of category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates. Among the selected categories, the healthcare sector has been given significant attention due to its critical role in filling job vacancies and contributing to the country's overall economic goals. This article will explore why healthcare was chosen as a category, the eligibility criteria for healthcare professionals, the targeted occupations, and the ranking process in the category-based draws.

Why Healthcare Occupations?

Canada's healthcare system heavily relies on immigration to address the growing demand for skilled healthcare professionals. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector had a staggering 143,695 job vacancies, making it the sector with the highest number of openings in the country. With a job vacancy rate of 6%, it is evident that the demand for healthcare professionals is substantial.

To bridge the gap between demand and supply, a significant portion of Canada's healthcare workforce comprises immigrants. Approximately one-quarter of registered nurses and 36% of physicians in Canada were born outside the country. However, foreign-trained medical professionals often face challenges in obtaining Canadian accreditation, hindering their ability to work in their respective fields.

In light of this, IRCC recognizes the need to facilitate the immigration process for foreign-trained healthcare workers, particularly given the crucial role they play in meeting the healthcare system's requirements.

Eligibility for the Healthcare Occupations Category

To be eligible for the healthcare occupations category under the new Express Entry selection draws, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Express Entry Program Eligibility: Candidates must meet the eligibility criteria of at least one of the Express Entry programs, which include the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, or Federal Skilled Trades Program.
  • Work Experience: Candidates must have accumulated at least 6 months of continuous work experience in one of the listed healthcare occupations within the past 3 years.
  • Other Requirements: Candidates must fulfill all other requirements specified in the instructions for the round of invitations.

Targeted Occupations in the Healthcare Category

The healthcare occupations category includes a diverse range of professions crucial to the functioning of the Canadian healthcare system. Some of the 35 healthcare occupations eligible for the Express Entry category-based draws include:

  • Dentists
  • General Practitioners and Family Physicians
  • Massage Therapists
  • Nurse Aids, Orderlies, and Patient Service Associates
  • Optometrists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Respiratory Therapists, Clinical Perfusionists, and Cardiopulmonary Technologists
  • Specialists in Surgery
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists
  • Veterinarians

Express Entry Category-Based Rounds of Invitations

The category-based rounds of invitations will be specific to candidates who meet the eligibility criteria for a particular category. IRCC will send invitations to apply for permanent residence based on criteria such as:

  • Language Proficiency: The ability to communicate effectively in a specific official language, with a strong focus on French language proficiency for healthcare candidates.
  • Work Experience: Candidates' work experience will be evaluated based on the specific healthcare occupations listed in the Targeted Employment Experience Requirement (TEER) category of the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
  • Education: Educational qualifications will play a significant role in determining eligibility for the category-based draws.
  • Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS): Express Entry candidates in the pool are ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS evaluates various human capital factors, including age, education, language skills, work experience, and more. The CRS score will continue to be relevant in determining the eligibility of candidates for category-based draws.

Ranking Process for Category-Based Draws

In the category-based draws, IRCC will invite top-ranking candidates who are eligible for the specific category being targeted in that draw. Candidates will be assessed based on their CRS score and the specific criteria outlined for the healthcare occupations category. This approach aims to ensure that the highest-ranking candidates within the healthcare sector are given priority in the invitation process.

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